Friday, September 19, 2014

Phases of the American Civil War

I frequently refer to our current era of American politics as the latest phase of the U.S. Civil War… in part because the political maps so blatantly copy a pattern that goes back almost 200 years. 

dogma-pragmatismCyclically, we find ourselves mired in dogma, instead of pragmatism, intransigent hatred instead of negotiation, nostalgia and romanticism, instead of belief that we can craft a better tomorrow.
Illustrating that others see this same breakdown, New York Magazine carried this article, A Southern GOP Can't Be the Party of Lincoln, decrypting how - politically - there seem always to have been two Americas. The Nixonian “Southern Strategy” flip changed the banners of the two sides, and Blue-vs-Gray has become Blue-vs-Red. Still, Jonathan Chait does a fair job of showing how consistent the political map has been.
This article, while mostly true and overall correct, misses a couple of key points.  First, the social movement called the "confederacy" has been at this for a long time.
civil-war-burnsPhase one of the American Civil War took place in the South, during the Revolution, when the British found their strongest support among Loyalist/Tory militias in Georgia and the Carolinas.  It was Scots-Irish hill settlers, fighting for Daniel Morgan, who tipped the balance in that struggle, toward what would become the American Experiment.
Phase two featured a period when southern politicians grew ever stronger in control of the U.S. federal government.  True, Andrew Jackson clamped down on John C. Calhoun's secessionism, in the 1830s, and kept the nation together. But Mr. Chait is correct that Jackson's overall sentiments were what we might call "confederate." Indeed, southern control over levers of power only grew until, by 1860, five of nine Supreme Court justices were slave-owners.
PAST-civil-warThis extended through the next phase, starting in 1852, when the Fugitive Slave Act turned the division violent.  Swarms of small units of southern irregular cavalry commenced rampaging across northern states, seizing anyone they wanted as an "escaped slave." These raider squadrons had the support of U.S. Marshals who were appointed by mostly-southern presidents. When outraged northerners started forming posses to defend their neighbors, those marshals called in federal troops. (See my earlier article: Past Keeping Faith with Future...and Day with Night.
In other words, the "confederate" social movement is not always anti-central-government!  It is only opposed to federal government when it does not control those levers of power.  Witness the tepidness of anti-government proclamations during the tenure of GW Bush.  Indeed, it is a wrathful unwillingness to let the electoral winners have their legitimate turn that was behind the hysterical reaction to Lincoln's election... and (one might argue) Obama's.
By the way, those rampaging bands of southern cavalry were self-defeating.  They radicalized northerners, causing them to arm themselves, revive their dormant militias and (eventually) vote for the abolitionist Lincoln. An effect that - were eyes open - one can clearly see happening across Blue America, today. (This is why Gun Control is such a pathetic hot button on the right.  No one is seeking more than tweaks.  Indeed, under Bush, many liberals started arming themselves.)
Up to this point, the Confederacy Society (CS) had lost phase one (allowing the establishment of a true federal republic), played for a draw in the Calhoun-Jackson era, and won phase three — in that its agendas controlled the national government and processes.
civil-war-word-cloudBut finally, Blue America got fed up. And what ensued was phase four — the one we normally think of as “The Civil War.” Unable to stomach their opponents ever even having a brief tenancy in just one branch of the government, CS did not bother trying to send even one delegation to negotiate with president-elect Lincoln, thus eliminating all right to refer to the Justifications for separation found in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence… that secession can be justified, but only when all other negotiations and redress have been exhausted. Anything short of that is oathbreaking and damnable treason.
BurnsCivilWarWe all know Phase Four very well. (If not, watch Ken Burns portray it magnificently, in his PBS series.) Hence, tra la I will bypass it and speed through the others:
Phase 5- The 1870s early end of Reconstruction... when the South bargained to let Rutherford Hayes and the Republicans into the White House, in exchange for what they really wanted. The “confederacy” won this phase, big time, when they dickered their way into an end of Civil Rights protections and a surge of Jim Crow laws that ripped from freed slaves the right to vote. The real losers, though? Not just minorities, but in every pragmatic sense the entire South, which thereupon slumped into a backwater of economic retardation and romantic, old-timey hatred of progress.
(You'd deny this?  Then explain how China in just 30 years went from poverty to economic superpower... when the US South has had 150 years and still blames its backwardness on Sherman.)
fall-dixiePhase 6 . The 1880s… this phase is not entirely associated with “confederate society” though it was part and parcel of the Democratic Party of those days. It featured William Jennings Bryan's white-christian populism, Free Silver and a rebuke to the steamroller effects of consolidated northern corporations. And for the first time, the states of the Great Plains began edging toward alliance with the Olde South. Northern oligarchs won phase six… unfortunately, in this case! (The one time the confederacy wing of our ongoing civil war had some real, moral justification on their side.)
What spun off from this phase was the Progressive Movement, which manifested all over America and was taken up by Theodore Roosevelt, whose family specialized in saving the wealthy in America from the inevitable price of limitless greed. If only today’s oligarchs understood that their greatest need, right now, is another Roosevelt! Without gentle, moderate reforms, our current momentum can only lead to tumbrels and guillotines. Watch Ken Burns's wonderful PBS series "The Roosevelts" which is being broadcast as we speak.
PHASES-CIVIL-WARPhase 7 - The 1940s through 1970s … the civil rights movement, started with Harry Truman’s bold desegregation of the military, then Dwight Eisenhower’s firm support of school desegregation. The essential and too-long delayed resumption of Reconstruction… which also included Lyndon Johnson’s effort to re-industrialize and re-invigorate the South. This phase was clearly won by Blue America (though the South benefited prodigiously, economically), but at a cost — which was….
Phase 8 - …the Nixonian, southern-strategy “flip" leads ultimately to today's full scale New Confederacy effort to finally destroy the United States of America. 

Not by force of arms, but by ending the effectiveness of politics as a pragmatic, open-minded process by which undogmatic citizens negotiate a mix of experiments and find out what works -- the methodology behind all of our successes. Replacing all of that with dogma more intense than communism ever was.
pragmatismPragmatism and science and re-evaluation are now portrayed to half our neighbors as enemies. A conviction of moral superiority that cannot be shaken by facts. 

Run through a long list of social ills: teen sex ages and rates, teen pregnancies, STDs, domestic violencedivorce rates, bankruptcy and debt default rates, education, economic productivity, net tax parasitism…even obesity rates… tell us clearly that outcome metrics do not support any claims that salt-of-the-earth types are better at life or raising kids than 'decadent' university-city-folk. Indeed, by all of those measures... and countless more... they get spectacularly worse outcomes.

So? The response is to utterly ignore statistics. Truthiness is all that matters.
rebellion-americaI could go on, but the point is clear: this rebellion against the American Experiment is both ancient and culturally deeply rooted.  We are in its eighth phase (at least).
Does it even have anything to do with the metaphor pushed by both Fox and MSNBC?  The hoary-stupid-lobotomizing so-called "left right political axis?"  Looking at all eight phases, that would seem to map poorly onto our civil war, which seems to be far more emotional and cultural -- a clash of two immiscible strains of American utopianism.
 In Ted Turner's wonderful film GETTYSBURG, one character opines that blue and gray America sang the same songs... but dreamed different dreams. Mark Twain commented that the confederacy side's relentlessly recurring rage is far more psychological than anything else, a deep romanticism and obsession with nostalgia that he blamed on Sir Walter Scott!  Certainly you can gain insight by tracing which regions sell more science fiction.
Where is it all heading?

Today's neo-confederacy is smart enough not to secede.  This time, it is working from within to slash the things that it always hated. Especially science, which is the enemy of nostalgia. But also any chance of American pragmatism prevailing in the kind of experiment-by-politics that has always been our national genius.
And yes, that campaign now includes seeking to ensure that "government of/by/for the people" SHALL perish from the Earth.


Mel Baker said...

Bravo for telling it like it is. I often wonder if we couldn't allow some major devolution and give the Neo-Conferacy the option of governing themselves and let the rest of us get on with building a nation. They can become the third world, neo-feudal society they so long to be.

Anonymous said...

Well done. But how do we get past it? And if the Neo-Conferacy is less educated how does it continue to outsmart the rest of the country that dominates in business, media, education, science and technology? Why are the smart guys always reacting late and tepidly? If the states really are the laboratories, isn't the debate over? Sometimes I wonder if maybe Lincoln should have let them leave.

Terry Power said...

When you mention, "A conviction of moral superiority that cannot be shaken by facts." you neglect that both major political parties are as entrenched when the facts do not agree with their positions. Just look at their denial of the facts about GMOs or fracking, insisting instead of their evil, and intentional tactics, regardless of the science that denies their harmful natures and how they can solve current problems like energy and food shortages. said...

you previewed this for me when I asked you to clue in...hope its not just an interesting organizing trick for rascible historians but perhaps a basis for serious discussion long and deep debate at the national level...

locumranch said...

A well-written & historically accurate post that equivocates northern industrialization & urbanity for progress while equating southern agrarianism with 'economic retardation' and a 'hatred of progress', using statistical markers that reflect urbanity to 'prove' the inherent superiority of the urban (urbane) lifestyle over that of the rustic & rural.

Therein lies the division between the Blue States and the Red States, the former being mostly urban and the latter mostly rural, while these so-called statistical markers 'beg the question' by reflecting classist assumptions about the urban qualities that constitute good citizenship, appropriate reproduction, social dominance, gender interaction & economic productivity, the argument being that a slick city lawyer who shuffles papers (or the assembly line worker who screws caps on toothpaste) all day is somehow a better, more civil and more productive citizen than the backward Kansas wheat (and/or hog) farmer who feeds 2000 other people besides himself & his family.

Along the lines of the British Colonial Model, the industrial Blue States gain economic superiority over the Red States by consuming & processing all of those cheap red resources only to sell them back (altered) to the reds at a healthy profit, just as the British did with wool, tea & opium to their former colonies.

It is Imperialism, really, that same old story with Blue being the new purple and the Red being the low-brow, low-born and low-down proletariat, while Spartacus (and/or Gandhi) is never around when you need him.


Paul451 said...

"Sometimes I wonder if maybe Lincoln should have let them leave."

However, that wouldn't have prevented the war. One of the major disputes behind secession was whether to allow slavery in the new western territories. There would have been a war over control of that territory. Additionally, remember those possés raiding across the borders of free states which David mentioned? It's not like runaway slaves would stop crossing the border once it becomes a national rather than state border. Nor would abolitionists in the free-states stop encouraging them. And it's not as if the Southern kidnap possés would have respected the new border. Indeed, Southern attacks on border posts were the proximal justification by the North for the Civil War.

So Lincoln was facing an inevitable war. The only issue was timing. Better to go early while the "Confederacy" was in start-up mode, with many of its citizens still loyal to the idea of a United States. Wait too long and they become comfortable with being an independent nation, and you are facing a constant insurgency.

[And then there's England and Europe. Too easy for the Confederacy to break up due to internal bickering, making them easy pickings for European powers. If England grabs, say, Georgia and Sth Carolina, it has a pincer with Canada to squeeze the remnant US.]

Today, none of those things is an issue. So I encourage the US to consider a negotiated trial separation.

Tim H. said...

Paul451, a trial separation? why not "DEVOMAX" as was discussed in the Scottish independence debate? Bearing in mind that one of the root disputes looks like "Do-gooders standing in the way of a quick buck" in all these disputes, don't be surprised if the autonomy is used in ways that distress you.

Anonymous said...

"Certainly you can gain insight by tracing which regions sell more science fiction."

What kind of insight? When science fiction doesn't have to be compatible with science, and it rarely is? When, like the "new" south, it's more likely to be inspired by nostalgia and wishful-thinking than creative-problem solve its way into a realistic and viable future?

What needs to be done, I think, is make the "new" south as hard to take seriously as science fiction; then it might be as fun to read the "new" southerners (Terry Southerners?) as science fiction writers.


Paul451 said...

Tim H,
"don't be surprised if the autonomy is used in ways that distress you."

I fully expect that the New Confederacy would do awful things.


"why not "DEVOMAX" "

... I want there to be no excuses, no blaming their failure on whatever is left of union with the north. "No, this really is your mess."

Tim H. said...

Paul451, the quest for the free lunch is more a vice of elites and wannabe elites and has little to do with the 90%, secession would be punishment for them. I can't see hammering a lot of little people because their elite neighbors have repugnant views.

Anonymous said...

Flyover goyim = stupid and funny

Milton Soong said...

We should have a Scotland like referendum. If the CSA want to succeed now I am all for it, maybe the rest of the country can then carry on without this baggage...

Anonymous said...

Rather biased in its presumptions. People who consider themselves part of the Tea Party, for instance, have been found to have a BETTER understanding of science and economics than the progressives who pretend to be the authorities in both, and to have - on average - a higher level of education. Teenage pregnancy may be considered a bad thing by some, but at a time when we are at a below replacement birth rate it might be worth considering whether this is such a great evil. The list can go on, but the chief problem is in presuming that one's own values apply to everyone else, whether they want them or not.

And as for the South being backwards - if it is so backwards, why are people LEAVING the blue states in droves to move to the South? Why do I meet just as many morons when I travel in the North as when I travel in the South?

Altogether this post is simplistic, biased, and wrong.

Locumranch had some good comments.

Naum said...

And if the Neo-Conferacy is less educated how does it continue to outsmart the rest of the country that dominates in business, media, education, science and technology? Why are the smart guys always reacting late and tepidly?

Because [1] oligarchs and plutocrats employ the mass political block as "useful idiots" -- it true today as it was in Age of Roosevelt(s) (both), [2] because of focused power of church and media stir the politics of resentment, rather than ire that should be directed at oligarchs and anti-aristocracy, as David as correctly called out in posts, that the long historical arc is more about aristocracy/oligarchy/plutocracy than it is about "socialism" or federalism.

Naum said...

Cartoon here says it all…

LarryHart said...


A well-written & historically accurate post that equivocates northern industrialization & urbanity for progress while equating southern agrarianism with 'economic retardation' and a 'hatred of progress', using statistical markers that reflect urbanity to 'prove' the inherent superiority of the urban (urbane) lifestyle over that of the rustic & rural.

What makes you say that.

If anything, it seems to me that Dr Brin is using the standards that the Republicans' own selves use to prove that liberal citified culture is "evil" and showing that they (Republicans) don't even pass their own tests.

And no one makes fun of Republicans for being hard-working famers. We do sometimes question the sanity of hard-working farmers being Republicans.

Dana Davis said...

I see this as a polemic, perhaps even an attempt to vilify. I think it ignores or overlooks various significant aspects of our history; for example, the fact that NYC Democrats dominated all of Southern economy - our northern banks provided the financing; northern investors provided many of the slaves and all things associated with their import and export; our factories provided all the material necessities, and they owned the end product - the cotton mills, the textile mills, everything associated with the profit of southern cotton was owned by the North. And then there were import and export duties; can you imagine? The North taxing the South for import?

It ignores the fact that many free blacks in NYC were very well educated and constituted a black intelligentsia, as elitists, who ultimately made a conscientious political determination, circa 1864 (?), to remain in the US, despite its faults.

I see the Civil War in entirely political terms - this was an entrenched polity at odds with a rising party that opted to utilize opposition to slavery as a central, if not entirely accurate, unifying theme in its quest for power.

We are presently engaged in a "civil" war; it remains to be seen if it will ultimately yield an un-civil war and thus a new confederation, as a federation of states opposed. But certainly, it appears, we are experiencing our Dred Scott moments.

Brin mentions Jefferson's Declaration but ignores the right of revolution inherent in our Constitution; the first step of any revolution is nullification, an act wholly owned by all oppressed, everywhere.

He asks, I suppose, why those of TP sentiment are so successful; it's because they are not superficial - they are not "teachers," they are continuous lifelong students of all things associated with our world. Many are intelligent people; they are not "pseudo-intellectuals." They don't turn, for example. to someone like Brin to provide answers, instead they dedicate 30 or more years of study to finding their own.

There was also this thing of one political party yielding to the victor, of unconditional surrender, as not only Democrats but even Bush himself had requested, but really, what the moderate American sees in the two party system, as both vie for our minds, is a system that engenders the rise of two political extremes, as the perfect example of perfect opposition. And thus ultimately an impasse. We, the plebeians (note that I did NOT say "proletariat") expect more parliamentary response from our politicians seated in Congress; we expect a reasonable, responsible compromise.

I think Brin's a little off on Progressive, too. Because historically there were forces in motion, various elements, for example, academia circa the 1830s and its attempt to self-empower through challenge of the reigning polity; events of the early 20th century, etc., that eventually converged.

I don't know; he makes some obvious points but I think he's a little too superficial.

Douglas Moran said...

I have to disagree with Terry Power. While I am certainly no big fan of the Democratic party, I believe you are falling into the false equivalency trap. It is the Republican party that has brought government to a screeching halt; it is the Republican party that is making science denialism official policy; it is the Republican party that is trying to tear down the wall between church and state; it is the Republican party that is doing its level best to dismantle the social safety net; it is the Republican party that is attempting to protect the oligarchs above all else.

Do the Democrats share some portion of the blame? Of course they do. But we've reached the point where if you care about the direction of this country and you vote Republican--and it doesn't matter which Republican, because they are all voting in lock step--you are voting against your own best interests unless you are a rich, white, straight, Christian man.

In my view, the Republican party needs to be rejected out of hand until they stop being so absolutely bat-effin'-loony, and one should spend one's energy working to reform the Democratic party. But implying that both sides are to blame in the current mess is absurd, in my opinion.

Dana Davis said...

I would add, too, one other final comment. I love Lincoln for his writing ability, his use of metaphor, his analogy, but... Initially requesting a subscription of only 75,000, he unwittingly initiated an action (Fort Sumpter was provoked) that ultimately cost the lives of an estimated 750,000 Americans, inflicted millions of casualties, many of lifelong disability, thus admitting the generational suffering of the many that ensued, as those returning disabled lost their farms to the tax-man - AND - invited complete and utter, nationwide economic destruction. We cannot ignore the decision of the British to withdraw all investment from the North at the start of the Civil War; we cannot ignore the depression of 1873, or the many other disparaging elements of the "reconstruction" era - people literally starved to death in the streets.

What to say then of the right of nullification?

And how do we conclude that a right of nullification does not exist? Or that the power to deny resides in the Union - our federal government as central authority - in a power so supreme that it can demand subjugation of all of its citizens at the cost of their lives? And then claim, in hindsight, that such a decision, such a determination, is ethical; that it occupies some moral high ground? How long do so-called progressively-minded people propose to maintain this charade?

The states can easily secede, at will. And some, undoubtedly, will.

Robert said...

I say let states secede. But let them know two other things. First, they are responsible for 1/50th of the National Debt and cannot renege on that debt. They want to leave? They have to take their share of the debt.

Second, no military alliance. No Free Trade Agreement built in. If they become a sovereign nation then they are responsible for their own defense and the border will be patrolled. If the state is landlocked? Then they have to negotiate with the U.S. for outside nations to be able to deliver goods to that nation and the like. And if they're on the border? Let them know that we won't lift a finger to protect them from, oh let's say, drug cartels in Mexico who might try to take over the new nation? Or criminals that set up shop in that new nation (though if they go into the U.S. then we consider them terrorists and can and will remove them from that now-foreign soil.)

In short, these secessionists have to leave with debt, without defenses, and start somewhat fresh. Most won't survive. Most won't try.

Rob H.

Dana Davis said...

Douglas Moran: A false equivalency Really? And you see, what, an equal sign between "fracking" and obstructionism? I would propose to you that the very idea of a "false equivalency" is born of superficial analysis, grounded in false premise. And the continued polemics are absurd. There is absolutely nothing good that has come of the last two presidencies. There is nothing to be celebrated; there is nothing there but the rapid expansion of plenary powers, the lessening of personal freedom, increased debt, higher taxes, a higher cost of living - personal injury of many forms. Political issues are entirely contrived, cultural fiction surreal, political deception at an apex.

If progressives were not so "unscientific" they would readily admit that both spirituality and organized religion are evolutionary, born of innate desire - that all that typically exists in the mind IS evolutionary. And if they were a little more compassionate, they would disavow attempts to institute atheism; if they were more "democratic," they would not enlist political forces to force-law new social constructs that some majority is unwilling to readily and freely admit.

And you see, what, all of these contrived issues as the end-all of our federal machine? Really?

At what point do we begin to insert concepts of "intelligence" in governance? How is it possible that we cannot summon the courage to do this? Meanwhile, backstage of some long-forgotten theater, many are growing impatient.

Robert said...

Please. Religion is born from psychological functions related to loss and despair. The thought of someone being gone forever when they die is quite painful. So humanity has developed a method of tricking the mind so that the pain of loss is lessened. The dead person is not truly dead, you see; instead, they are in a magical realm where they will be hale and hearty and when you die you will see them.

And then some people decided to add conditions. You see, yes, your child who died from some man beating its head in is still in that magical realm. But the bad man who didn't? He won't be there because he did something wrong.

And all at once you have sin and selective heaven.

Add in some more rules and now you have religion.

There is no evidence or even a hint of evidence of the soul. There is no evidence or hint of evidence of a Divine Creator. It is all just a psychological device that humanity created to help lessen the pain of loss, and which has now metastasized into a horrific form.

It would be nice to believe this magical realm after death. But if it exists there is no evidence of it. Why waste our time on something that is just a psychological device? Even the Bible states that we should, when we grow up, put childish things aside. Religion itself is the ultimate of childishness meant to help alleviate the sense of loss when those we love (or hate!) die.

How many hours are wasted on prayer each week? How often do people beg God to fix things instead of working hard to fix things themselves? Religion is a waste of time, a crutch, and ultimately a crime against humanity itself due to its use to justify horrific acts.

You want progressive? You abandon religion.

Rob H.

Dana Davis said...

Robert: You're joking right? Texas doesn't need the federal government to defend its border; nor will it need its permission to expand that border in a southerly direction. The federal government has no ability to demand satisfaction of its debt; as the above indicates it no longer possesses the moral authority to murder its own citizens with the full approbation of the people.

Do you have any idea how many would flock to the new-born nation? Or how easily it is to entice those of the tax burdened, hogtie-them-at-birth, North?

Dana Davis said...

Robert, so sorry to inform you: Our gods were born in the minds of archaic man, not of despair but of premonition; there is no other possibility. A common belief system, cohesive bond, the development of political entities, the product of human interaction, a communal create that requires structural hierarchal organization, etc. etc.; religion as socio-poltical entity, the "rules" of society - ALL is absolutely evolutionary. And anything else is but a really, really, superficial study.

LarryHart said...

Was this particular post linked to some other site that caused a whole bunch of non-regulars to suddenly chime in?

Just curious is all. I hardly recognize the "place".

Robert said...

Dana, if Texas declared independence and then declared war on Mexico to expand southward, then wouldn't the United States, a trade ally of Mexico, not come to Mexico's aid and attack the Texan aggressors? Do you honestly think Texas could stand up to the U.S. military? And do you think U.S. soldiers would hesitate to attack a group of people who not only said "fuck you" to the United States and cast off its citizenship, but then invaded a sovereign nation?

As for your "premonition of God" I ask for physical proof. The Bible doesn't count. Nor does the existence of religion.

You see, back in 2004 I and my friend had a series of encounters. We saw what is described in Wikipedia as "Shadow person" (or people, seeing we saw multiple). This happened on multiple days for all of summer. One night I even saw what I was told were faerie lights according to a pagan after the fact. Except of course none of it was real.

You see, my friend and I were suffering from shared hallucinations that happened late at night (after midnight) when we were tired. He was separated from his now ex-wife and his kids and was stressed. I was living in a basement which isn't exactly the most wholesome of environments. One of us would "see" something, point it out to the other, and the other "saw" it as well.

One thing my friend saw was a "shadow demon" or "shadow gargoyle" in mid-air. He pointed it out to me as "do you see that?" and what I saw was just a black shape floating in the air without a specific form. In short, hallucinations.

Yet there are tens of thousands who have seen shadow persons who insist these things are real. The phenomena can be explained away neurologically as a form of hallucination.

If my friend and I hallucinated shadow persons at the same time, how is that any different from various people hallucinating what they consider to be God? Your "premonition" is in fact explainable by neurochemical imbalances. We know that certain neurological processes happen during near-death syndromes that create the sense of seeing light in something akin to a tunnel. Those people who recover think they saw God or the like.

There is nothing to your faith. It is daydreams and wishful thinking. It is a waste of time and can be quite harmful. What's worse, so many people have bought this delusion that they believe atheists are inherently bad people because they don't fear God is going to punish them for not being good - rather than accept that people choose to obey social norms and the like on their own.

I mean, there are plenty of Christians who have committed crimes. They have raped, murdered, robbed, abused people, and so forth. Yet they're Christians. Shouldn't their fear of God keep them from doing these acts?

Well, if they are choosing to behave against social norms and to harm others despite their religiousness, then why can't an atheist not choose to behave according to social norms and in a way that is ethical and just?

You don't need religion. It is a crutch.

Rob H.

locumranch said...

As I support neither a new confederacy, nor the old, nor federalism in its current incarnation, I wish to clarify my statements so not to be misunderstood:

I did not object to David's assessment of the principles involved in the old North & South (or the new Red & Blue) divide, only to the unctuous sanctity of his self-righteous morality -- for if truth be told -- the moral distinction between the North & old South is trivial at best as the South drove its economic engine deliberately with involuntarily 'domesticated' humans (aka 'slaves') while the newer North drives its economic engine with humans deliberately 'conditioned to domesticity' by a femininity-based pedagogy (initiated by Horace Mann & augmented by Scientific Management) in a way that only 'appears' to be voluntary as the countless denizens of our prisons & ghettos can tell you.

Similarly, most of the arguments regarding the supposed moral superiority of either the Red or the Blue States is based on specious circular reasoning regardless of its empiric basis, mostly because our society has chosen to define 'better' in terms of economic productivity, and while it is true that delayed reproduction does correlate well with increased economic success (especially in an urban setting), this so-called rule is only true if we define 'success' in the narrow economic terms of worker productivity, just as it is true that early reproduction does correlate strongly with poor economic performance because our productivity-driven culture has deliberately chosen to devalue the accrued socio-economic benefits of child-rearing.

The resource-rich Reds owe their lower incomes to the highly-productive mechanical innovations once produced by the more tech-savvy Blues (prior to global outsourcing, at least), but the resource-poor Blues owe their higher incomes to the low cost of red resources which have been kept artificially low by the advent of highly-productive (but costly) blue mechanical innovations. And so it goes, around and around, a self-justifying C02-producing federal juggernaut driven by archaic definitions of both 'economy' and 'success' in combination with an unhealthy emphasis on industrial productivity, unless we step off this toxic treadmill before we doom ourselves & our environment, and one way off is balkanization which would allow the more disadvantaged resource-rich culture to reassess & reset costs to a more appropriate level.


LarryHart said...


The resource-rich Reds...

Illinois is not resource-poor, nor, as I think about it, is it strictly "urban". Despite the political dominance of metropolitan Chicago, most of the state itself (whose southern extent is closer to Atlanta than to Chicago) is farm country.

I'm not as familiar with California demographics, but I suspect similar arguments apply. Point being, with the possible exception of some small, crowded east-coast states, no state is truly "urban" as a whole.

Nebraska is "resource rich" in farmland supported by the Oglala aquafer, and surprise, surprise, despite their Republican character, they want no part of the Keystone XL pipeline if it goes through their state. I wonder why.

Paul Shen-Brown said...

Dana and Richard,

I hope you both realize that religion is far too complex a subject to draw any meaningful conclusions from a handful of criteria. Reducing religion to psychological functions fails to examine the many other roles it plays in society, as well as missing the huge amount of psychological dissonance it causes. From the beginning of civilization religion has had an enormous role in politics and governance, from the god-kings of Mesopotamia and the priest-kings of Mesoamerica to the politics of terror we feel today. Religion has always been a bedfellow of politics, devised to police the people by convincing them to police themselves. But unthinking adherence to our religious traditions (whatever and wherever they may be) leaves people to be easily swayed and co-opted by political actors (and their economic bedfellows).

Saying that religion (or anything else, for that matter) is "evolutionary" hardly justifies it nor grants any permanent halo. Evolution only means change, so if you link religion to evolution, you have to accept that it, too, changes. But more important than any myth of unchanging, timeless Truth is the misunderstanding (or deliberate misrepresentation) of the process itself. Biological evolution, responsible for shaping the instincts which play a huge role in any individual's psychology, is a very slow, generational process. Culture, however, can change very quickly, creating huge mismatches between or instincts and the social environments we are surrounded by. Thus what may have been adaptive (to use the term real evolutionary biologists use - not 'evolutionary') at one time may become maladaptive at another time.

Any religion you care to name that has been around for a multiplicity of centuries and has survived the political forces which shaped it has a checkered history. For every Mother Theresa religion has produced, it also created a horde of Tomas de Torquemadas. For every positive religion creates in people's personal lives, there is a negative.

Invective is a poor substitute for the pursuit of deeper understanding. I'll add a link to Amazon for a good book that treats religion not from one side or the other but from a commitment to understanding.

Robert, the phenomenon you mentioned about the dark tunnel is quite real. When a person's brain is being starved of oxygen, it can no longer operate peripheral nerves. In the optic nerve, the cells that control peripheral vision are the first to switch off, creating the tunnel vision effect so commonly reported in near-death experiences.

Hallucinations seem to be produced by a neurotransmitter called Dimethyl Triptamine, which also plays a role in more ordinary dreaming. The last time I looked at it, there was not a lot of research on this one taking place. Most neuroscientists are busy looking for cures to diseases like Alzheimer's or dementia, so this kind of research will probably remain on the back burner for some time. However, given that hallucination is a common side-effect of extreme deprivation, and how hallucinations are culturally mediated, it has some potential power to explain just about any mystic vision you care to name, especially those connected to ascetic traditions.

Happy cogitation!

Ray Ghanbari said...

David, have you read "The Fourth Turning" by Strauss and Howe? They have developed a theory of generations that point to a 80 year cycle. According to their work, we're in the midst of another "Crisis" with a "Hero"generation about to take front an center to develop the new social contract for the next 80 years. Fascinating patterns in history.

LarryHart said...

Paul Shen-Brown:

Biological evolution, responsible for shaping the instincts which play a huge role in any individual's psychology, is a very slow, generational process. Culture, however, can change very quickly, creating huge mismatches between or instincts and the social environments we are surrounded by. Thus what may have been adaptive (to use the term real evolutionary biologists use - not 'evolutionary') at one time may become maladaptive at another time.

Exactly why a healthy, functioning society has to pay heed to both its conservatives and its libersls. The current vogue for either side to permanently crush the other is dangerous.

Conservatives espouse the notion that that which has always worked works for good reason, while liberals remind us that conditions can change and make old ways obsolete.

Paul Shen-Brown said...

Hello Larry Hart,

Sorry I haven't commented in awhile. I wanted to earlier, but work has been exceptionally busy and by the time I got back to the blog it had moved on to other subjects.

Did I mention Franz deWaal's book "The Age of Empathy" earlier? In the last chapter he comments on how the American right wing looks at moral issues from an individual perspective, while the American left wing sees them through the lenses of higher orders of structure, meaning the community and ecosystem levels. I think Dr. Brin said in a number of places that both levels are important to account for. It's a little like the balance of powers among branches of government. However, neither side is doing a particularly good job of looking the facts in the eye and using them to make moral decisions. Rather, both sides have tended to make their judgements first, then cherry pick the facts to fit their preconceived notions. When that happens, there is a danger that the system itself will become maladaptive and dysfunctional.

My friends sometimes call me the ultimate fence-sitter.

Back to work!

Paul451 said...

"why are people LEAVING the blue states in droves to move to the South?"

Cheap housing.

Seriously, that's it. Wages are lower, therefore there isn't a higher demand for workers, so they aren't chasing jobs. Education standards are worse, so it isn't for their kids. It's just the price of housing. (And even then, it's only in a few of the red states. Mainly Texas and some of the mid-West. And even within those states, it's only to Blue enclaves, like Austin.)

"I say let states secede. [...] Second, no military alliance. No Free Trade Agreement built in. [...]"

No offence, but that's just stupid. Like someone in a divorce pedantically manipulating anything (kids/money/property) to hurt the other person.

I want the South to secede. I think the remaining US states will thrive. But I also I think the South will benefit from having that excuse for every failure removed, it will teach them responsibility. And, unlike your comment, I don't mean that in a nasty way, I really think the South will eventually thrive with independence. Oh, they'll go nuts at first and do stupid things, and minorities will get it worse for a time, but long term I think they'll learn to stop being so damn childish. Get rid of a lot of the anger, and conservatives will go back to being just plain conservatives, and not the insane radicals that dominate conservative politics today. Without the excuses, they will clean up their own mess. As will the North (which often hides behind the excuse of the crazy Conservatives for the failures of its own politicians.)

Trade treaties, mutual defence treaties. Shared defence during the transition. Etc. Whatever they need to feel safe in leaving. Not with anger, not a nasty divorce. A friendly separation.

[As I said to an Anon previously in this thread, Lincoln couldn't let the South secede. The two "nations" would have been at war in a decade or so no matter what. But that isn't the situation today. There are no western territories to fight over, there are no European powers trying to regain or expand influence in Nth America. And, in spite of Dana's weird comment, there's no chance that Texas will invade Mexico.]

Anonymous said...


Where did you get your information about the wages being lower? I have lived in both California and in Texas - the wages were comparable to the job/industry I was in (design) and the cost of living in California (Northern CA) was at least 3x the cost of the housing in Texas.

I am interested in where you found the information about salaries to make your statement.

High IQ White Nationalist said...

How can a discussion of American Civil War fail to mention the elephant in America's living room: Race. The Confederates, and increasingly white Americans in general, are alarmed at the rapid demographic and cultural changes they have witnessed over the past 50 years. A glance at our mainstream propaganda and institutions shows a clear agenda at work to marginalize whites (particularly men). It's natural to extrapolate these trends and wonder: Where is this all headed? Is someone trying to destroy us? Who? What is to be done?

It's all coming to a head now under the Obama administration, which represents the apotheosis of white Christian America's fears: urban Jews and non-whites ruling over them via an ever-expanding security apparatus, pursuing hostile policies at every turn. This is the American version of the early Soviet Union, where (mostly Jewish) Bolsheviks came to power and the Cheka instituted a reign of terror against their ancient tribal enemies, the Kulaks, Ukrainians, Orthodox Christians, etc. Something similar is happening in America today, but it is more subtle, and the Confederates are the only ones with enough sense of history to see it or the cojones to resist it.

As for Civil War, since my kind (white goyim, Aryans, Riders of Rohan – call us what you will) excel at organized violence, but are rather gullible and easily exploited by the clever words of the cultural manipulators, it is in our interest to remind our tribal enemies that power ultimately springs from the barrel of a gun. One wonders how long the white soldiers and cops who keep America from descending into Third World conditions will remain loyal to hostile regimes, and not do what we do best: seize power by organized formations of men in war, rendering impotent the ideological, legal and financial diktats of cowardly bureaucrats in distant lands.

History and human nature provide little evidence that a multicultural empire like modern America can exist for long. We see borders being erased and warbands forming in Iraq and Syria today; how long before something similar happens here, by men who feel they have no other recourse to saving their people and reclaiming their power and dignity? Personally, I don't believe we're headed toward another Civil War, so much as race war, imperial collapse, Völkerwanderung and a new Dark Age.

locumranch said...

If Larry_H understood population dynamics better, he would realise that Illinois -- like Colorado, Nevada, Utah & most of the non-coastal US --is composed of highly-populated urban (Blue) centers and a diffusely rural (Red) everything else, and that a red vote against an environmental boondoggle like the Keystone XL pipeline is simply a vote against a blue urban energy agenda.

Be that as it may, today thousands of first-worlders march to protest climate change, condemning the very wasteful fossil-fueled economic policies that have given them suck, indicating a rejection of duplicitous alternative energy policies that claim that a society of fossil-fueled fatties can loose CO2 adipose by consuming an ever increasing amount of fossil-fuels, when everyone knows that the only way to loose weight is to accept the unpleasant necessity of caloric restriction (a Diet) even if this means a repudiation of our sacrosanct socioeconomic cycle, bringing us back to balkanisation.

Although terribly unpleasant, Balkanisation is the quickest way out of this mess we made for ourselves, especially if we remember the following empirically-defined codicils: (1) The global economy requires seamless interdependency to function smoothly; (2) the global economy is powered mostly by fossil-fuels; (3) fossil-fuel demand dropped sharply during the recent global economic down-turn, meaning that it will drop further if subject to additional economic disruption; and (4) the number 1 predictor of All-Cause Mortality following Hurricane Katrina was 'Age greater than 71 years'.

The adult course would be for us to 'Think of Our Children’ instead than our aging selves — Self-Martyrdom for the sake of our Racial Future — but, as evidenced by Whitey McWhite above, you & I know that WE WILL NEVER JUMP unless we are pushed.


LarryHart said...

HI-IQ National Socialist:

It's all coming to a head now under the Obama administration, which represents the apotheosis of white Christian America's fears: urban Jews and non-whites ruling over them via an ever-expanding security apparatus, pursuing hostile policies at every turn.

Say what?

I thought the riff against President Obama is that he's a secret Muslim and an enemy of Israel. Outspoken Jewish media tend to overwhelmingly support national Republicans and are at the least, shall we say "suspicious" of the motives of this presdient. To assert that President Obama and "The Jews" are united in a conspiracy against white Christians is absurd.

It does, however, make sense if you do as Republcans generally do and assume that your antagonists think (or rather "think") exactly as you do. You would use power and influcence to engage in disenfranchisement and ultimately genocide of those other kinds of people you dislike. Therefore, that's what they must be doing as well.

A glance at our mainstream propaganda and institutions shows a clear agenda at work to marginalize whites (particularly men).

White Christians are the biggest crybabies I've ever seen. They have most of the power and influence, but that's not enough. Any hint that they live up to the American ideal of actually treating others as equals is seen as an "attack" on them.

It's natural to extrapolate these trends and wonder: Where is this all headed? Is someone trying to destroy us? Who? What is to be done?

If one takes the "us" above not as "White Christians" but as "The democracy of the United States of America", I think it is pretty clear who is trying to destroy us. Thankfully, if we can survive another 50 years or so, most of that cohort will have shuffled off this mortal coil, or be drooling in nursing homes having their diapers changed by the lower races they despise.

LarryHart said...


If Larry_H understood population dynamics better, he would realise that Illinois -- like Colorado, Nevada, Utah & most of the non-coastal US --is composed of highly-populated urban (Blue) centers and a diffusely rural (Red) everything else, and that a red vote against an environmental boondoggle like the Keystone XL pipeline is simply a vote against a blue urban energy agenda.

I'm not sure we're in disagreement here.

I'm against the Keystone XL pipeline because it will not create (permanent) jobs, it will not increase North American energy supply (since the whole point is to make oil that can now only be sold here easier to export), and because it poses a great environmental risk to areas such as Nebraska's Oglala aquifer.

All national right-wing media is in favor of Keystone XL, and paints opposition as hippie sentimentalism for spotted owls and the like. Yet, the presumably Republican Nebraskans themselves agree with me (Blue-state liberal that I am) and with the very politicians they keep sending to Washington to make policy.

My point is that, when having to actually face the merits of the issue in their own front yard (instead of treating policy positions as mere badges of which "team" one is on), the rural conservative Republican Nebraskans implicitly acknlowlede that liberals like me have a point.

In your view of the way the teams lay out, I should be in favor of Keystone, the TPP, and perpetual war in the Middle East, while rural conservatives should be against them. I don't see things playing out that way.

Randy Winn said...

"Empirically defined codicils"?



Paul451 said...

"Where did you get your information about the wages being lower? I have lived in both California and in Texas"

Median income (2011):-

California: $57,287
Texas: $49,392

New York: $55,246
Washington: $56,835 (State)
Washington: $63,124 (City)

Georgia: $46,007
South Carolina: $42,367
Alabama: $41,415

Interesting outliers:

Alaska: $67,825
Michigan: $45,981

"the wages were comparable to the job/industry I was in (design)"

Yeah, real typical example there, skippy.

Richard Probst said...

American Nations by Colin Woodard ( traces this rivalry back to 1590. Excellent book that explains American history better than I was ever taught it in school.

Jumper said...

Wondering the risk to Oglala aquifer. (Agree no point to pipeline, but what exactly is this ballyhooed risk?)

Anonymous said...


The problem was not that the South was agricultural (there was plenty of agriculture in the North) but that its agriculture was based on a single crop - cotton cultivated in large estates. Those large estates made it hard for smaller farmers to compete. It was thus that Lincoln's father had to move from Kentucky to Illinois. His opinions on large estates run on slave labor that made life hard for the small white proprietor must have been SOME influence on Lincoln as he grew up.

There is nothing wrong with farming as a way to make a living, only that when you start production that allows to feed several people at once, you end up with surplus people. If you have any industries, those people move there. If not, they have to leave. That was what happened in Ireland. The English (those parangons of freedom) squelched all forms of activity except raising cattle, and Ireland had to export its surplus people all over the world. Indeed, the platform of the independence movement there was industrialization - which began to be carried out in earnest by Eamon de Valera...

By the way, no one forbade the South to put up its own industries, as the South did. At the time of the Revolution the Southern states were richer, more populated, and dominant in Government. If by the start of the Civil War the Northern states were richer and more populated was not due to Northern tyranny but of the South not building a strong industrial economy. The North never forbade inmigrants from going to the South, nor forbade southerners to create their own industries. The South chose a bad economic model and paid for it.

By the way, you could study the case of Argentina, which made the same bad bargain, they based the economy in selling meat and other foodstuff to England, and then saw the whole thing collapse when in 1930 England was not in condition to thanks to the crash... Years of political instability followed, and then Peron came and started an accelerated industrialization...

The present government there is Peronista, and David Brin might be interested, the society there is basically diamond shaped.

Barry said...

"So Lincoln was facing an inevitable war. The only issue was timing. Better to go early while the "Confederacy" was in start-up mode, with many of its citizens still loyal to the idea of a United States. Wait too long and they become comfortable with being an independent nation, and you are facing a constant insurgency."

Grant, in his memoirs, believed that a lot of areas could have been kept by the USA if troops had been put there early. What actually happened is that they were abandoned to the Confederacy.

Ben Collins said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Antony Joseph said...

I have long desired to kick out all the Red States and let them wallow in their own theocracy, corruption and racism. As Chuck Thompson sated in his hilarious book "Better Off Without 'Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession" even their football (the SEC) is corrupt to the bone.
But I have ran the numbers and it looks like a good chunk of the Old Confederacy can be taken strong GOTV movements and the inevitable changes in demographics. First it was Virginia and North Carolina, but soon we will see the Purpling of Georgia, Texas and Arizona. Along with these trends, there is the technological change in employment that could allow more people to telecommute to work. Imagine millions of Blue State college graduates moving to Red States for lower housing costs. With a fair amount of coordination the electorates of small population states like Wyoming could be overwhelmed with liberal voters. After electing enough senators, congressmen and governors to enact sweeping democratic reforms they can all move back to their coastal origins.
What will the current forces of reaction and theocracy do when they are permanently outvoted? The choice will be to change, give up or seceed.

thedevilcorp said...

Good site. Well done.

Allen Kelly said...

Well this is all very interesting.... As a Northerner becoming acquainted with the South on a personal basis late in life, I am fascinated by the intellectualized yet ultimately visceral hatred of anything southern, particularly Texan.

I call it Progressives Southern Derangement Syndrome. Obama has it and if you pay attention to some of his actions during his tenure, his dislike of states that voted overwhelmingly against him are obviously engendered in his political and deliberate affronts to those States.

It is none other than Texas that has a history, in the past because of its size and emptiness, of having it's population altered and manipulated for the sake of holding land, power and resources. When Spain possessed the Texas Region, they encouraged settlement in order to populate citizens and cement Spain's claim to the land that might be challenged at first by Great Britain and France... When Mexico gained it's independence it persisted in efforts to give away land and establish a population of citizens to hold sovereignty as well.

Now in the era of Obama, we have a President with a multi-generational imperial plan to create a permanent Democratic, Socialistic progressive national majority by infiltrating the country, particularly the Southern states he hates, with Millions of future Latino underclass Democrat voters many who come from cultures of failed socialist agendas, arriving here to collect on the Welfare Social Contract with which we are saddled.

Yes it's cynical plot and those who refuse to understand the illegality and immorality of the operation President Obama and his comrades at arms conveniently point to the sheer humanitarian virtues of becoming a giant sponge for illegal immigrants. Equally they refuse to accept the argument that if President Obama, and Liberal Democrats knew as assuredly as they do that these are future progressive Democrat voters, that they were instead going to become a GOP majority, the Democrats emphasis and platitudes about the virtues of humanitarianism and diversity would quickly flip toward the politics of sovereignty and economic well being for our nation's established citizens and tax payers, the need for stronger borders and full but proper assimilation.

A welfare state without borders and requirement that new immigrants provide REAL skills and additive qualities before assimilation into a productive culture, has no chance for survival.

Texas and other Southern States are the front line in the battle toward a totally progressive society... The progressives (actually socialists) have already won and turned California, Colorado and New Mexico. It's all part and parcel to the over-all plan.

Power at all cost is the the true aim of progressives. Sovereignty, liberty, solvency, individualism, private property, the better half of the American experience are all expendable to the Democrat Progressive agenda of a very imperfectly described, vaguely understood, never perfected, all engrossing, never happy utopia.

Incidentally, to those Democrats clamoring for a larger minimum wage (the insanity of increased cost without improvement)... Don't hold your breath awaiting that to happen. If the huge Latino influx continues to create workers willing to take those low wage, entry position jobs that "lazy Americans don't want" and/or selfish members of the chamber of commerce want to keep cheap and the Democrats continue to cultivate a new underclass of Quid Pro Quo voters... why would there be a need for an increased minimum wage, yet alone would there be the money?

robin said...

Yes.right on.

goplifer said...

I might have argued with this assessment until I moved from East Texas to Chicago. Growing up in Texas we had no idea what the rest of the country looked like. I wish more people understood this perspective on the North/South divide.

Paul May said...

Anonymous said...
Well done. But how do we get past it? And if the Neo-Conferacy is less educated how does it continue to outsmart the rest of the country that dominates in business, media, education, science and technology? Why are the smart guys always reacting late and tepidly? If the states really are the laboratories, isn't the debate over? Sometimes I wonder if maybe Lincoln should have let them leave.

Because the leaders of the New Confederacy aren't uneducated. They are very very wealthy feudalists who are at the top of society and aim higher. And their policymakers, the think tanks, are very very smart.

They are dumb and very ignorant only in the average.

Paul May said...

Jumper said...
Wondering the risk to Oglala aquifer. (Agree no point to pipeline, but what exactly is this ballyhooed risk?)

Any leak at any point that gets into the aquifer poisons the entire aquifer, and that can't be cleaned out.

So that destroys an entire fresh water source effectively forever.

And a leak will happen. We all know they'll be cheap on construction and maintenance; this is proven by past experience. Therefore, there will be spills. And it's big pipe, they'll be big spills. Also proven by experience.

One of those in the aquifer and it's gone.

Want to risk that?

Hải Đặng said...

"This information is impressive; I am inspired with your post writing style & how continuously you describe this topic. After reading your post, thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel happy about it and I love learning more about this topic..
hoa lan ho diep | civil engineering outsourcing | Civil engineering services | Outsourcing land development services | Civil engineering services | Outsource Structural Drafting Services | Outsource CAD drafting services "

astrounit said...

Conflict always produces a residual condition that must be managed by the 'prevailing' force into something that approaches an equilibrium or stable condition. But such stability comes with a significant burden cost of constant effort. Thus we are condemned to remain in a constant state of war - if not in actual immediate physical terms, yet entirely in realistic practical terms required of ongoing interaction that places cooperation as a premium. Peace is a condition of equilibrium and stability - the most difficult balancing act the human civilization experiment has ever and always been challenged to maintain.

Unfortunately, that is a tough act: the suite of contending parties, ideologies and economic interests guarantees that physical conflict will erupt. It inevitably becomes a matter of management - too often, crisis management - and therefore a perpetual condition of 'war', as a controlling issue. Measures crafted by 'diplomats' under the aegis of their respective national leadership, ostensibly aimed toward the coordination of disparate tribal interests of any kind must find some room to accommodate their positions in order to alleviate rising pressures that could lead uncontrollably to physical conflict. Of course, any involved party (and on a finite little planet, who isn't?) that decides they are not treated properly for whatever reason important to themselves and proceeds on the path of belligerence risks the stability of the whole.

Human beings pride themselves on their spectacular individual intelligence. Such intelligence in healthy individuals comes about from an acute coordination between a gigantic number of neurons specialized in a great many sub-routine activities within the brain. Yet it is sobering to recognize that our social concoctions have yet to approach anything nearly as coordinated - and therefor as 'intelligent' - as that which exists in a worm.